[hed-ing] /ˈhɛd ɪŋ/
something that serves as a , top, or front.
a title or caption of a page, chapter, etc.
a section of the subject of a discourse; a main division of a topic or theme.
the compass direction toward which a traveler or vehicle is or should be moving; course.
an active underground mining excavation in the earth, as a drift or raise being or about to be driven.
Aeronautics. the angle between the axis from front to rear of an aircraft and some reference line, as magnetic north.
the upper part of the body in humans, joined to the trunk by the neck, containing the brain, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.
the corresponding part of the body in other animals.
the head considered as the center of the intellect, as of thought, memory, understanding, or emotional control; mind; brain:
She has a good head for mathematics. Keep a cool head in an emergency.
the position or place of leadership, greatest authority, or honor.
a person to whom others are subordinate, as the director of an institution or the manager of a department; leader or chief.
a person considered with reference to his or her mind, disposition, attributes, status, etc.:
wise heads; crowned heads.
that part of anything that forms or is regarded as forming the top, summit, or upper end:
head of a pin; head of a page.
the foremost part or front end of anything or a forward projecting part:
head of a procession.
the part of a weapon, tool, etc., used for striking:
the head of a hammer.
a person or animal considered merely as one of a number, herd, or group:
ten head of cattle; a dinner at $20 a head.
a culminating point, usually of a critical nature; crisis or climax:
to bring matters to a head.
the hair covering the head:
to wash one’s head.
froth or foam at the top of a liquid:
the head on beer.
the maturated part of an abscess, boil, etc.
a projecting point of a coast, especially when high, as a cape, headland, or promontory.
the obverse of a coin, as bearing a head or other principal figure (opposed to ).
one of the chief parts or points of a written or oral discourse; a main division of a subject, theme, or topic.
something resembling a head in form or a representation of a head, as a piece of sculpture.
the source of a river or stream.
heads, Distilling. alcohol produced during the initial fermentation.
Compare 1 (def 6d).
a toilet or lavatory, especially on a boat or ship.
the stretched membrane covering the end of a drum or similar musical instrument.
Mining. a level or road driven into solid coal for proving or working a mine.
Machinery. any of various devices on machine tools for holding, moving, indexing, or changing tools or work, as the headstock or turret of a lathe.
Railroads. (def 3).
(loosely) the pressure exerted by confined fluid:
a head of steam.
Also called pressure head. Hydraulics.
Also called magnetic head. Electronics. the part or parts of a tape recorder that record, play back, or erase magnetic signals on magnetic tape.
Compare , , .
Slang: Vulgar. fellatio or cunnilingus.
Archaic. power, strength, or force progressively gathered or gradually attained.
heads up! Informal. be careful! watch out for danger!
first in rank or position; chief; leading; principal:
a head official.
of, relating to, or for the head (often used in combination):
head covering; headgear; headpiece.
situated at the top, front, or head of anything (often used in combination):
moving or coming from a direction in front of the head or prow of a vessel:
head sea; head tide; head current.
Slang. of or relating to drugs, drug paraphernalia, or drug users.
verb (used with object)
to go at the head of or in front of; lead; precede:
to head a list.
to outdo or excel; take the lead in or over:
to head a race; to head one’s competitors in a field.
to be the head or chief of (sometimes followed by up):
to head a school; to head up a department.
to direct the course of; turn the head or front of in a specified direction:
I’ll head the boat for the shore. Head me in the right direction and I’ll walk to the store.
to go around the head of (a stream).
to furnish or fit with a head.
to take the head off; decapitate; behead.
to remove the upper branches of (a tree).
Fox Hunting. to turn aside (a fox) from its intended course.
to get in front of in order to stop, turn aside, attack, etc.
Soccer. to propel (the ball) by striking it with the head, especially with the forehead.
verb (used without object)
to move forward toward a point specified; direct one’s course; go in a certain direction:
to head toward town.
to come or grow to a head; form a head:
Cabbage heads quickly.
(of a river or stream) to have the head or source where specified.
head off, to go before in order to hinder the progress of; intercept:
The police headed off the fleeing driver at a railroad crossing.
(down) by the head, Nautical. so loaded as to draw more water forward than aft.
come to a head,
get one’s head together, Slang. to have one’s actions, thoughts, or emotions under control or in order:
If he’d get his head together, maybe he’d get to work on time.
give head, Slang: Vulgar. to perform fellatio or cunnilingus.
give someone his / her head, to permit someone to do as he or she likes; allow someone freedom of choice:
She wanted to go away to college, and her parents gave her her head.
go to someone’s head,
hang one’s head, to become dejected or ashamed:
When he realized what an unkind thing he had done, he hung his head in shame.
Also, hide one’s head.
have one’s head screwed on right / straight, Informal. to be sensible or rational:
It seems like these young people have their heads screwed on right and that our future is in great hands.
Also, have one’s head on right/straight.
head and shoulders,
head over heels,
head to head, in direct opposition or competition:
The candidates will debate head to head.
keep one’s head, to remain calm or poised, as in the midst of crisis or confusion:
It was fortunate that someone kept his head and called a doctor.
keep one’s head above water, to remain financially solvent:
Despite their debts, they are managing to keep their heads above water.
lay / put heads together, to meet in order to discuss, consult, or scheme:
Neither of them had enough money for a tour of Europe, so they put their heads together and decided to find jobs there.
lose one’s head, to become uncontrolled or wildly excited:
When he thought he saw an animal in the underbrush, he lost his head and began shooting recklessly.
make head, to progress or advance, especially despite opposition; make headway:
There have been many delays, but we are at last making head.
make heads roll, to exert authority by firing or dismissing employees or subordinates:
He made heads roll as soon as he took office.
not make head or tail of, to be unable to understand or decipher:
We couldn’t make head or tail of the strange story.
Also, not make heads or tails of.
off the top of one’s head, candidly or extemporaneously:
Off the top of my head, I’d say that’s right.
one’s head off, extremely; excessively:
We screamed our heads off at that horror movie. He laughed his head off at the monkey’s antics.
on one’s head, as one’s responsibility or fault:
Because of his reckless driving he now has the deaths of three persons on his head.
out of one’s head / mind,
over one’s head,
over someone’s head, to appeal to someone having a superior position or prior claim:
She went over her supervisor’s head and complained to a vice president.
pull one’s head in, Australian Slang. to keep quiet or mind one’s own business; shut up.
rear its (ugly) head, (of something undesirable) to emerge or make an appearance, especially after being hidden:
Jealousy reared its ugly head and destroyed their relationship.
take it into one’s head, to form a notion, purpose, or plan:
She took it into her head to study medicine.
Also, take into one’s head.
turn someone’s head,
a title for a page, paragraph, chapter, etc
a main division, as of a lecture, speech, essay, etc
the angle between the direction of an aircraft and a specified meridian, often due north
the compass direction parallel to the keel of a vessel
the act of heading
anything that serves as a head
the upper or front part of the body in vertebrates, including man, that contains and protects the brain, eyes, mouth, and nose and ears when present related adjective cephalic
the corresponding part of an invertebrate animal
something resembling a head in form or function, such as the top of a tool
the position of leadership or command: at the head of his class
the highest part of a thing; upper end: the head of the pass
the froth on the top of a glass of beer
aptitude, intelligence, and emotions (esp in the phrases above or over one’s head, have a head for, keep one’s head, lose one’s head, etc): she has a good head for figures, a wise old head
(pl) head. a person or animal considered as a unit: the show was two pounds per head, six hundred head of cattle
the head considered as a measure of length or height: he’s a head taller than his mother
a culmination or crisis (esp in the phrase bring or come to a head)
the pus-filled tip or central part of a pimple, boil, etc
the head considered as the part of the body on which hair grows densely: a fine head of hair
the source or origin of a river or stream
(capital when part of name) a headland or promontory, esp a high one
the obverse of a coin, usually bearing a portrait of the head or a full figure of a monarch, deity, etc Compare tail1
a main point or division of an argument, discourse, etc
(often pl) the headline at the top of a newspaper article or the heading of a section within an article
(grammar) another word for governor (sense 7)
the taut membrane of a drum, tambourine, etc
(mining) a road driven into the coal face
a device on a turning or boring machine, such as a lathe, that is equipped with one or more cutting tools held to the work by this device
See cylinder head
an electromagnet that can read, write, or erase information on a magnetic medium such as a magnetic tape, disk, or drum, used in computers, tape recorders, etc
(informal) short for headmaster, headmistress
(informal) short for headache
(curling) the stones lying in the house after all 16 have been played
(bowls) the jack and the bowls that have been played considered together as a target area
(rugby) against the head, from the opposing side’s put-in to the scrum
bite someone’s head off, snap someone’s head off, to speak sharply and angrily to someone
(bring or come to a head)
get it into one’s head, to come to believe (an idea, esp a whimsical one): he got it into his head that the earth was flat
(slang) give head, to perform fellatio
give someone his head, to allow a person greater freedom or responsibility
give a horse its head, to allow a horse to gallop by lengthening the reins
go to one’s head
head and shoulders above, greatly superior to
head over heels
hold up one’s head, to be unashamed
keep one’s head, to remain calm
keep one’s head above water, to manage to survive a difficult experience
make head, to make progress
(used with a negative) make head or tail of, to attempt to understand (a problem, etc): he couldn’t make head or tail of the case
(slang) off one’s head, out of one’s head, insane or delirious
off the top of one’s head, without previous thought; impromptu
on one’s head, on one’s own head, at one’s (own) risk or responsibility
(slang) one’s head off, loudly or excessively: the baby cried its head off
over someone’s head
(informal) put their heads together, to consult together
take it into one’s head, to conceive a notion, desire, or wish (to do something)
turn heads, to be so beautiful, unusual, or impressive as to attract a lot of attention
turn something on its head, stand something on its head, to treat or present something in a completely new and different way: health care which has turned orthodox medicine on its head
turn someone’s head, to make someone vain, conceited, etc
(transitive) to be at the front or top of: to head the field
(transitive) often foll by up. to be in the commanding or most important position
(often foll by for) to go or cause to go (towards): where are you heading?
to turn or steer (a vessel) as specified: to head into the wind
(soccer) to propel (the ball) by striking it with the head
(transitive) to provide with or be a head or heading: to head a letter, the quotation which heads chapter 6
(transitive) to cut the top branches or shoots off (a tree or plant)
(intransitive) to form a head, as a boil or plant
(intransitive) often foll by in. (of streams, rivers, etc) to originate or rise in
(Austral) head them, to toss the coins in a game of two-up
Edith. 1907–81, US dress designer: won many Oscars for her Hollywood film costume designs
c.1300, “a beheading,” from present participle of head (v.). Meaning “advancing in a certain direction” is from c.1600. Meaning “title at the head of a portion of text” is from 1849.
Old English heafod “top of the body,” also “upper end of a slope,” also “chief person, leader, ruler; capital city,” from Proto-Germanic *haubudam (cf. Old Saxon hobid, Old Norse hofuð, Old Frisian haved, Middle Dutch hovet, Dutch hoofd, Old High German houbit, German Haupt, Gothic haubiþ “head”), from PIE *kaput- “head” (cf. Sanskrit kaput-, Latin caput “head”).
Modern spelling is early 15c., representing what was then a long vowel (as in heat) and remained after pronunciation shifted. Of rounded tops of plants from late 14c. Meaning “origin of a river” is mid-14c. Meaning “obverse of a coin” is from 1680s; meaning “foam on a mug of beer” is first attested 1540s; meaning “toilet” is from 1748, based on location of crew toilet in the bow (or head) of a ship. Synechdochic use for “person” (as in head count) is first attested late 13c.; of cattle, etc., in this sense from 1510s. As a height measure of persons, from c.1300. Meaning “drug addict” (usually in a compound with the preferred drug as the first element) is from 1911.
To give head “perform fellatio” is from 1950s. Phrase heads will roll “people will be punished” (1930) translates Adolf Hitler. Head case “eccentric or insane person” is from 1979. Head game “mental manipulation” attested by 1972. To have (one’s) head up (one’s) ass is attested by 1978.
“to be at the head or in the lead,” c.1200, from head (n.). Meaning “to direct the head (toward)” is from c.1600. Related: headed, heading. The earliest use of the word as a verb meant “behead” (Old English heafdian). Verbal phrase head up “supervise, direct” is attested by 1930.
“most important, principal, leading,” c.1200, from head (n.). Old English heafod was used in this sense in compounds.
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noun 1. (in brickwork) a course of headers.
- Heading dog
noun 1. (NZ) a dog that heads off a flock of sheep or a single sheep
noun 1. a sword used for beheading.
- Head in the sand
see: hide one’s head